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21. June 2019


After almost a year of silence, WaveEngine 3.0 preview has just been released.  WaveEngine is a cross platform C# powered ECS based 3D game engine that is completely free to use.  Sporting a new renderer and a sporting a completely new editor, WaveEngine 3.0 preview is still quite an early release.  We did a hands-on Closer Look review at a previous version of WaveEngine 3.0 for a good basis in how WaveEngine programming works.

Highlight details of the 3.0 preview release:

  • New launcher and update system
  • New WaveEditor
    • Effects Viewer
    • Materials Viewer
    • Render Layer Viewer
    • Sampler Viewer
    • Textures Viewer
    • Model Viewer
    • Audio Viewer
    • Scene Viewer
  • New Effect Editor
  • XR Ready
  • Single Pass (Instanced) Stereo Rendering
  • New extensible Render Pipeline
  • New life cycle for entities
  • New web project support
  • New serialization system based on YAML
  • New HoloLens 2.0 support

You can learn more and download the 3.0 preview release right here.  Keep in mind WaveEngine 3.0 is nowhere near ready for production use, with only a limited subset of platforms and features available.  Check out WaveEngine in action in the video below.

GameDev News


10. May 2019


While Unreal Engine doesn’t provide C# support out of the box, it does provide an exceptional plugin system, so it was only a matter of time until C# plugins arrived.  Today we are looking at the open source USharp extension, which is based on the MonoUE plugin project.  Using this plugin, UE4 gains C# functionality with the following features:

  • Write C# using UObject exposed types (AActor, AGameMode, UActorComponent, etc). Define new UObject types and inherit existing ones. Exposed C# types can then be used in (or extended by) Blueprint.
  • Access to Unreal's reflection system (UClass, UFunction, UProperty, etc).
  • Hot-reload
  • Dynamically switch between .NET Framework, .NET Core and Mono for an improved debugging / runtime experience without having to reopen the editor
  • Supports Windows, Mac and Linux

There are however some downsides:

  • This project depends on a lot of PInvoked functions which could potentially behave differently on different C++ compilers. This project may not work on some target platforms.
  • Like mono-ue this project depends on lots of generated code and IL weaving. It probably isn't the best for performance and there is a huge amount of generated code everywhere.
  • The weaved IL currently seems to break edit-and-continue debugging (issue with cecil?)
  • There is currently too much marshaling on structs / collections (list, map, set). Marshaling needs to be redesigned to avoid copies of entire collections / structs on trivial calls between C# / native code. Additionally marshaling of delegates needs to be redesigned (various issues such as being referenced as a copy of the delegate).

If you are interested in checking out USharp, you can find the installation instructions here.  One potential problem to be aware of, the project creator doesn’t seem to have attached a license to the code repository!  While this code is not production ready, if you intend to use it in any capacity, I would make sure the license is suitable.  See the results of the plugin in action in the video below.

GameDev News


8. May 2019


At the MSBuild 2019 developer conference, Microsoft made a pretty huge announcement about the future of .NET.  With the release of .NET 5, there will be one .NET, that is cross platform and open source.  Essentially .NET Core, .NET Framework and Xamarin will all be replaced with a single unified .NET 5 framework.

In this blog post Microsoft discuss the future of .NET 5, as well as how we got here and how it will impact developers.   The core (pun intended) of .NET is:

  • Produce a single .NET runtime and framework that can be used everywhere and that has uniform runtime behaviors and developer experiences.
  • Expand the capabilities of .NET by taking the best of .NET Core, .NET Framework, Xamarin and Mono.
  • Build that product out of a single code-base that developers (Microsoft and the community) can work on and expand together and that improves all scenarios.

This isn’t going to happen overnight however.  Here is the announced timeline of developments:

coresched

This means in November of 2020, there will be just one version of .NET available for all platforms.  With the release today of .NET Core 3.0 Preview 5, that seems to be the ideal platform to develop .NET applications in anticipation of .NET 5.

GameDev News


2. April 2019


Today marked the release of Microsoft’s seminal IDE Visual Studio 2019.  It is available for download right now at https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/downloads/.  The community edition of Visual Studio 2019 is completely free to use so long as your company makes less than $1M USD annually or has > 250 PCs.   Free trials for the Professional and Enterprise versions are also available.  For more details on the differences between versions, be sure to check here.

There are several new improvements and features available in Visual Studio 2019 including improved performance and start up times, a new AI driven code tool called IntelliCode, .NET core 3.0 support, C# data breakpoints, tighter integration with GitHub and Azure, multiple improvements to mobile development using Xamarin, a new remote coding interface called Live Code and much more.  You can read the complete Visual Studio 2019 release notes here.

Visual Studio 2019 for Mac also received a new release, including intellisense support taken directly from Visual Studio.  You can read the full release notes here and download here. (be sure to click the MacOS tab if required).

You can watch a condensed to under 10 minute version of the keynote in the video below.  In addition to the keynote, Microsoft have a series of training materials and more in-depth sessions available at https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/vs2019-launch/.

GameDev News


1. April 2019


Humble are running another bundle of interest to game developers, especially C# developers.  It’s the Humble Microsoft & .NET Bundle by APress which contains 3 tiers of programming books, many about C# but all about Microsoft .NET technologies.  As with all Humble Bundles (including the ongoing Coder’s Bookshelf bundle) it contains multiple tiers of books with proceeds split between Humble, the publisher, charity and potentially GFS (thanks!) at your discretion.  If you buy a tier, you get all of the books below that tier.

This Bundle consists of:

$1 Tier

C# 7 Quick Syntax Reference

Visual Studio Code Distilled

Microsoft Computer Vision APIs Distilled

Beginning Xamarin Development for the Mac

Modern API Design with ASP.NET Core 2


$8 Tier

Cosmos DB for MongoDB Developers

Modern Data Access with Entity Framework Core

Azure and Xamarin Forms

Beginning Entity Framework Core 2.0

Developing Bots with Microsoft Bots Framework

Essential Docker for ASP.NET Core MVC

Pro C# 7


$15 Tier

Hardening Azure Applications

Beginning XML with C# 7

Modern Algorithms for Image Processing

Xamarin.Forms Solutions

Deep Learning with Azure

IoT, AI and Blockchain for .NET

Practical Bot Development

Introducing Microsoft Teams


You can grab the bundle here or learn more in the video below.

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